Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

268 “Metal Urgent”

Friday, August 16th, 2019

IN DEFENSE OF COMMON SENSE
By Hetty Gray

# 268 “Metal-Urgent”

August 16, 2019

I take license with the standard metallurgy to pose a question to all of you despite your state of residence.

Harken back to World War II. American households from coast to coast began to donate metal toward the war effort. Vintage newsreels show housewives of all ages dragging everything from old beds to hubcaps… pots and pans to floor lamps… They carried their bounty to waiting trucks that plied the streets of towns and cities across the United States gathering precious metal for the war plants.

A treasure trove of metal reposes across this nation — spied among hills and valleys, backyards and vacant lots, alongside main roads and dirt roads. It sits. It rusts. It decays. Why aren’t those who push for environmental cleanup going after the metal before it loses its value to recycle?

Disregard what we once called “junk yards” or today’s popular “scrap yards.”
Businesses such as these have provided spare parts for us as far back as anyone can remember. Sometimes the inventory comes from wrecked vehicles or commercial demolition. Yet, I would hazard to guess that the smallest percentage of their worn wares comes from people bringing it in for its cash value.

Can you fathom the amount of metal that lies about around this country? It would boggle the mind to even begin to try to figure out the tonnage, but I would bet it is considerable —even shocking!

What if our service clubs, 4-H and youth groups volunteered to gather up the metal and take it to a central hub for shipment to companies ripe for raw materials? What if monetary return were enough to more than tempt people with the stuff on their property to haul it out for cash?

There will always be “collectors” (?) who amass junk vehicles and farm equipment and let it sit idle for years. I guess some folks just can’t part with things. Yet, it makes more sense to accrue a little income from unused items. True, the current values are low. You can expect a low price of around $200 for a 1.3 ton vehicle according to .

In truth, even farmers cannot expect a high value for idle, rusty old farm equipment. Yes, even with the booming world demand for scrap metal, farm machinery that commands high prices is of the old, heavy variety dating back at least a generation or two. The focus here is not “antique” farm
equipment. That’s another story entirely, centered on enthusiasts for things like oil pullers and steel wheeled harvesters.

I just wonder what would happen if we spurred those intent on cleaning up the environment to attack the problem of rusty clutter awash in America.
If the enthusiasm equaled the supply, you could envision stake truck after stake truck lumbering down the back roads and highways carrying their bounty to strategically located collection hubs.

Instead of going out for a leisurely drive only to have the landscape marred by piles of rusting “stuff,” why not anticipate seeing a cleaner view? It is disgusting to think that an entire group of farmers were deprived of making a living to save some little “snail darter” fish; yet, rusting hulks sink into the ground without so much as a second thought from those who clamor for a “cleaner America.”

Scrap yards and junkyards have fences. Open spaces that are cluttered with rusting hulks constitute a blighted landscape. Urban or rural, accumulating junk is unsightly and unworthy of a country steeped in pride and tradition. Metropolitan cities often sponsor clean up taken of Baltimore, Maryland? A lot of that trash it is plastic, but a lot is metal, too. Department of Corrections work details routinely clean up along highways, but those efforts pale in comparison with cleaning up the junk seen off our roads. Granted, rural areas would pose security and escape problems, but why not have corporations and foundations sponsor clean up crews staffed by unemployed men? Jobs equate to money. Money incentivizes upward mobility.

Trash as a step up? Yet, we do have a crisis, one that I dub “metal urgent.” The longer metal sits unused and in the open, the less value it has and the more unsightly it becomes. Face it: there is a lot of junk out there.

If we really attacked this problem, we might be very surprised at the result. Think about it.

267 “Means” August 6, 2019

Tuesday, August 6th, 2019

IN DEFENSE OF COMMON SENSE
By Hetty Gray

#267

“The Best Means”

It doesn’t take a lot to spark my angst at the slide of today’s society compared to years of my youth. Quite often I take zest in filing a column allied to a historical date or a treasured American holiday and attendant celebration. However, beginning anew with a slightly different take on today, I submit a topic for your assessment.

Columbine, until April 20, 1999, brought to mind a beautiful flower variety. After that date the name linked to a beautiful high school at the outskirts of Denver, Colorado. From that day forward, Columbine became a term recalling fear and death — fear and death at the hands of classmates. The fifteen dead included the two perpetrators.

Video games fueled their fervor for killing and honed shooting skills to effect the highest possible number of casualties. Those of us who live in Indiana remember vividly that teacher Dave Sanders, a Hoosier native, sacrificed his life by using his own body to shield students from the onslaught of bullets.

People have had guns for centuries, but the mindset is different today. No, I do not refer to the ongoing battle over gun laws. Laws only restrain law-abiding citizens. Criminals do not obey laws. In the end, taking guns away from law-abiding citizens will never stave off a mass shooting. A miniscule number of gun crimes are committed by licensed gun owners. Criminals will get guns no matter what laws are on the books.

When you add one more ingredient, the result is ghastly. Mental illness is not a new malady and can be traced as far back as any written history. Mental illness and weapons do not mesh. They constitute a recipe for disaster.

My generation was not privy to the mentally ill awash within the wider society. Physicians and family members saw to it that those so afflicted were put in a facility where they could live in safety and not pose a threat.
Every state had mental hospitals, and I can site one specifically.

A good example is Central State Hospital, Indiana’s first state psychiatric institution, located on West Washington Street in Indianapolis. In 1844, the famous reformer Dorothea Dix inspected almshouses and jails near Indianapolis that housed mentally ill paupers. The hospital served the entire state until 1905, by which time additional hospitals had been constructed in Evansville, Logansport, Madison, and Richmond leaving Central State with patients from 38 counties in central Indiana.

The state recognized that the mentally ill deserved good care and provided it for 150 years. It served the state well, but with the onslaught of people who saw no need for facilities of its kind, Central State Hospital closed its doors for good in1994. In my opinion, Hoosiers are no better for its closure.

The nation’s oldest surviving facility of its kind, the building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and now houses the Indiana Medical History Museum.

The numbers of mentally ill veterans among the homeless population complicate the problem even more. Sometimes I wonder if there is another ingredient, too. I wonder if we have demanded so little of our youngsters in the last fifty years that they expect life to be easy.

It’s not an idle comment either. Most of my generation had a first job at about 12 or 13 years old. We delivered newspapers, swept floors, car-hopped, washed cars, pumped gas, stocked groceries or bussed tables and washed dishes in restaurants. A very few ever had a car. In fact, most families when I was a teenager had just one car.

Parents expected their teenagers to work, and it wasn’t unusual that the teenager’s wages helped to support the family. At some point that firm parental direction changed. People wanted for their kids to have it “easier” than they did. Yes, teens work today, too, but not in the numbers of decades ago.

When you remove discipline, expectation and faith from the scene, you are left with a grim picture. Low energy? Try an energy drink! Feeling low? Take a pill to feel better. Create an artificial reality.

When things were tough emotionally, a family leaned on both the medical community and the church. There was an iron triangle that held together very well: parents, school, and church. While non-denominational churches grow at an unprecedented rate today, organizers push athletics on Sunday, robbing many families of worship services.

Now, consider prescription drugs. Not oxycodone or hydrocodone or narcotics per se, but anti-depressants. Ever notice the advertisements for anti-depressants? You recognize them, the people who hold up a cardboard face wearing a smile to mask their emotional condition?

Commercial advertising for drugs is a sore point with me. Aside from the ridiculous disclaimers at the end of each ad warning of the possible side effects — including death — is the entire problem of suggestion. How many of these disturbed children have had any real supervision at home?

Combine the demise of the mental hospital, the availability of anti-depressants and the explosion of violent video games that extol killing and desensitize youngsters to any kind of compassion for their fellows, and you seed a nasty result.

A truly worrisome sign of disintegration among young people is the wide use of technology. Sure, cell phones save lives; but they also cost lives. Computers bring the world to the kitchen table, but they also provide a remote platform for pure hatred. We saw bullying in schools during the 1950s and 1960s, but that bullying was up close and personal — face to face — or at least across the playground or the street! Today, children and teens commit suicide because of online bullying.

Cowards fully utilize social media. For years I never used the text function on my phone. Is it handy? Sure it is, but it also represents a real danger for the younger generation. Why? They no longer actually talk to one another. We had a telephone at home, but my folks had rules. At first it was a party line, so more than one family had the same number. Only the number of rings was different. No long conversations and the phone sat in the hall. Privacy? Forget that!

When people lose the skill of talking with one another, they lose the ability to empathize with one another. A person is not a person anymore. The text world is sterile and limited —absent emoji — to 26 letters and 10 numbers.

I am convinced that our schools should teach American history and patriotism from kindergarten. If ignored, history repeats itself. Studying history provides warning signs. With no sense of history, we are doomed.
Today’s problems are complicated and dangerous, but nothing short of a return to ethics and values will solve them. The Bible tells us from its earliest texts what happens when a nation turns its back on God. It bodes ill. Well, America is on that sad road now.

Man can solve just so much. God can solve everything. His ingredients? Love. Hard work. Caring. Sharing. Kindness. Peace. Not a bad recipe, is it?

The final nail in the coffin is the pervasive preaching of gloom and doom. The constant banter of no hope for the future is robbing kids of dreaming and living the American dream. The prime reason for the elections of both Ronald Wilson Reagan and Donald John Trump is that they held out high hopes for the nation. Without that hope, why should our young people have any interest in success or contributing to the society as a whole? The non-stop litany of victimization is useless. They need an entirely new message. How about this one? “When you see a problem, work on how to fix it!”

We are at a tipping point in this society today, and we need a return to faith and family in order to turn things around. Change comes from hard work, and hard work is what we should be expecting, not “freebies.” There is no free lunch and there never will be. Someone pays for it. Likely, you.

The shooter in Dayton was a supporter of Elizabeth Warren. The shooter in EL Paso had expressed his anti-Mexican sentiments long before President Trump took office, yet the wider media focused on the latter not the former. It’s as if the young man in Ohio didn’t exist.

Nothing is solved unless the whole truth is out in the open. It’s been said for as long as I can remember, and it holds true today. “Actions speak louder than words.” Pray for those in El Paso and Dayton. Pray for our President. Detractors are attempting to lay all these deaths at his feet. Nonsense.

President Trump is not anti-immigrant. He is anti-illegal immigrant, and so are the majority of Americans. Support him as he comforts those in Ohio and Texas. We have the means. Do we have the will? Think about it.

266 “Old Glory”

Thursday, July 4th, 2019

IN DEFENSE OF COMMON SENSE
By Hetty Gray

# 266

July 4, 2019

“Old Glory”

The Fourth of July dawned with wisps of white clouds on a soft blue background, unusual for Upper Michigan in the summer. The usual colors are much more brilliant and the clouds puffier, as if forecasting what will come with afternoon’s deep blue hues.

As I positioned the flag on the deck rail, I lamented the fact that the nation’s detractors have settled on another precious element of America as a target for what has become a non-stop litany of protests against the only place on earth where you are really free to speak your mind.

Well, shall we leave the term “mind” for another time? You would need to be completely unaware and uninformed as to our history to decry a country whose men and women have freed more souls from harsh governments than any other that ever existed.

The old term “you reap what you sow” comes to the fore. In the last half century those of us who know and love history and appreciate the sacrifices made for our freedom point a deservedly accusing finger at the educators who have, as was their plan, systematically spun tales of anti-Americanism to their students that have grown like a terrible disease. This disease is not dis-ease in terms of subtle objections to the way things are run in this country. Oh, no, this disease has been repeated and taught so often that it is now thought true. Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive. And deceive they have….

Step by step, professors and lecturers from coast to coast have spawned a generation of functionally and historically illiterate graduates who now have a growing grip on what happens to our freedom.

Our American flag stands as more than a symbol. It has been, for 243 years, for countless citizens and servicemen and women, the life’s blood of our nation. Flown over joyous parades, it also drapes the coffins of those who paid the ultimate price for everything we have today.

Are they inadequacies in our government? Certainly. Yet, beyond all those shortcomings lies the foundation of a free people, who, today, celebrate its inception — hard fought by men whose ranks included the most educated and the least, men whose spirits bolstered by a loving God, propelled them to found a nation truly worthy of Ronald Reagan’s description “a shining city on a hill.”

Today, as you watch the 4th of July parades, whether in hamlets or major cities, stop a moment and thank God — yes, God — that you live in a country whose history is a beacon to oppressed people around the world, a country that beckons immigrants to come and make the American dream real for their families. Leave the controversy of current times aside and celebrate the mix of America. We are, as my beloved Taiwanese government professor at Franklin College loved to say, “an international salad with American dressing.” Well, dress up today. Wear your red, white and blue.

Hail that flag as it passes. In your community, large or small, in your state, make sure that voices are raised not to remove the Pledge of Allegiance from our public meetings and government sessions. View that pledge as a prayer and defend it with equal fervor.

May “Old Glory” find a new sense of glory in our country. Stand against those who use it unfairly, who malign it and seek to, in using it in such a manner, diminish its value to each and every one of us.

Happy 4th of July, and may God, as He has for centuries, continue to bless the United States of America.

265 “A Day To Always Remember…”

Thursday, June 6th, 2019

IN DEFENSE OF COMMON SENSE
By Hetty Gray

# 265

June 6, 2019

For the last twenty-plus years I have never failed to file a column on this day. It is seminal to my childhood. My parents’ generation lived it, yet seldom discussed it. It was, in so many cases, something to hold inside and remember. Not so much as a tiny hamlet in this nation was spared losing a man or woman in World War II. Today, we pause for an anniversary that commemorates sacrifice in terms few can really understand.

Seventy-five years ago today my father lost several of his good friends. Army personnel, both on the ground and in the air, they gave their last full measure of devotion as the Allied Expeditionary Force came onto the beaches of Normandy in the first onslaught that was to cripple and defeat Nazi Germany.

A dear member of my family jumped from an LST as it hit the beach and scrambled up those rugged cliffs among his comrades and countless others he had never seen.

Looking at history texts in today’s curricula I lament the fact that the bravery of those men and the tremendous challenges they faced are given little space. In fact, World War II comes across as just another war.

Where the teenagers in the mid-1800s often took charge of their families when a father — or both parents — died. They never gave a second thought to their sudden responsibilities. They put on their big boy pants and forged ahead to do the best they could.

My generation was involved in the Vietnam War, but that war was not a conflict that threatened the whole of Western Civilization as we know it. It was, of course, a struggle for freedom of the South Vietnamese populace. America has always come to the aid of people fighting for freedom.

Our struggle came against the British in the 18th century, and the determination of the Founders and the tattered soldiers under George Washington was alive and well on “D Day.”

We are unique. Our nation, once it achieved its freedom, never relinquished it to those who sought to destroy it. There is nothing as tempting to dictators as taking down a government that gives its people liberty.

The speech that President Donald Trump gave in France should be reading material for every man, woman and child in America. His descriptions of Private First Class Pickett mirrored the courage of uncounted thousands buried nearby.

The feats of “”D Day” would be completely impossible today. Aerial images would give away any modicum of deception. The cardboard tanks and airplanes on the ground in England would be seen for what they are.

Losses were monumental. We lost so many men — essentially a good portion of an entire generation. Those who fought grew up in the wake of World War I. Their parents and grandparents had good reason to fear another war in Europe. Yet, when their country called, youngsters — yes, youngsters — lined up to enlist. Many lied about their age. It was not unusual to find a 16 or 17-year-old fighting alongside older men.

Few of the returning veterans talked about their wartime experiences. Fortunately for us, organizations across the country have been filming videos for the last decade or so. Those who sat down to tell their stories nearly a lifetime after their service did so in order to “set the record straight.” Videographers knew the importance of accuracy. They knew that only these men and women had a wealth of knowledge. It is to their credit that they took the time to do these videos. Many military museums have a wealth of these films. They are well worth viewing.

There are still some surviving veterans from World War II. At least as of last year, Richard Arvin Overton was the oldest of his veteran peers at 112 years of age. A Texan born and bred, he certainly echoes the mantra of many proud residents of the Lone Star State.

If you have the chance to view the video from today’s ceremonies in France, scan the men behind our president. We are not likely to see their equal again. Oh, I do not diminish the bravery of those who serve today, but they will not face the odds that those storming the Normandy beaches or fighting in the Ardennes faced. Armaments have come a long way and protection afford our soldiers would have looked like science fiction in the 1940s.

If you have children or grandchildren, take the time to teach them about World War II. That conflict, long, protracted and costly beyond belief, secured freedom for Western civilization. We are forever in their debt. They forged ahead with faith in their God and their country. They knew, to a man, that they might never come home alive. Yet they fought on….

Just reflect on U. S. Army General Anthony McAuliffe.

He is credited with perhaps the most famous quote of the entire war.

Anthony McAuliffe (2 July 1898 – 11 August 1975) was the United States Army general who was the acting division commander of the 101st Airborne Division troops defending Bastogne, Belgium during World War II’s “Battle of the Bulge,” and is famous for his single-word reply of “Nuts!” in response to a German surrender ultimatum.

His spirit and tenacity is representative of this generation of soldiers and is seen today in our fighting men and women. Americans have never backed down to tyrants. They have fought tooth and nail to secure liberty for their fellow peoples around the world.

It is in our genes to help others. We have reason to be proud of this country. Today, and for as long as you breathe free, please pray for those who died along those cliff-edged beaches seventy-five years ago. Remember those who came home. They are still among us. They deserve our prayers, and our thanks. Think about it

# 264 “Will we?”

Monday, May 20th, 2019

IN DEFENSE OF COMMON SENSE
By Hetty Gray

# 264

May 20, 2019

“Will we?”

Suffice it to say that it’s been a long time since I filed a column. In spite of the fact that topics surface every day deserving of a column (or two), I have waited because this is a column that is long overdue.

In the past, as readers, you know that my work presents a form tailored to you as readers, and not as I the columnist. I try very hard to incorporate factual background and historical context to topics that reflect current events, no matter how bizarre. And, in truth, some of them are very bizarre.

Religious rivalries and hatreds date back as far as the written or carved word. To hear the news reporters today, one would think that all this is new —- a phenomenon reflective of insensitivity and a ghastly term that defines all too many newscasts: tolerance.

One comment is overdue. We have forgotten how to see humor in anything. Our children are deprived of a good old-fashioned laugh. Life should be lived with a little levity. Troubles afflict each of us. Some are minor. Others are heavy and threaten to destroy us.

However, there is a quarter of solace and peace that has been removed from our schools. Is it any surprise that when schools banned God from their premises, Satan came in the door with both feet?

From seventh grade through high school a young men’s group called Hi-Y began our school day with a prayer. Nobody complained. Nobody protested. Words of wisdom came over the loud speaker and gave those of us who did not attend church a bit of guidance sorely missing from their lives.

It mattered not if our classmates were Protestant, Jewish, or Catholic. None of us questioned the worship of our peers. Most of us had homes with intact families, father… mother… perhaps one or more siblings. Since most of our parents had their children in their twenties, a great many of us had grandparents until we had our own children. School activities were five-day weeks with athletic events on Friday or Saturday nights. None were planned for Sunday. In fact, had someone suggested that in the 1940s or 1950s they would have been greeted with a hard, cold stare.

Just what did society do when it took the Lord away from our children? Listening to many young people today, the word “church” is roundly absent.

It is high time that believers of every stripe rose to the occasion and took a stand against Sunday games. A middle ground might be found in at least scheduling contests mid-afternoon so families could attend church together.

Satan is a force with which we must reckon. Active beyond our estimation, he wields tremendous force on impressionable people. He comes not with a foul smell or ugly appearance. Instead, he comes sweet smelling and flush with tempting goodies. He seems to offer everything and demand nothing. Yet that is not the case at all.

It is a joy that since President Reagan’s “….shining city on a hill,” we again have a spokesman in the White House. President Trump continues to remind us that we are all created by God. In a recent speech in Green Bay, Wisconsin, he remarked, “In America, we do not worship the government. We worship God.” If anything, we need more of that in daily discourse. When was the last time you heard the media (in any form) refer to religion unless it revolves around a shooting or some sort of vandalism?

Do not expect that those bent on taking down religion in America will wane in their efforts. Violence is on the increase. With no God in their lives, youngsters without direction and disgruntled men and women seek to inflict their power over others. Sometimes they use words and protest, full of expletives and opinions but absent of facts. They take center stage on newscasts. What better way to recruit others who have nothing in their lives that holds them to a higher calling? They are adrift.

An anchor exists. Few other than the Christian and Jewish programming networks address the fact that the country is at risk. Take heed of the Old Testament, common to both faiths. When a nation turned its back on God, the result was grim. Judging the current climate in American, we teeter on the cusp of disaster.

We are living in what can be, in a matter of years, a dark time for America. The popular culture is dangerous. No matter whether you are Christian or Jew, you place your life in the hands of God. In the Old Testament God made a covenant with the Jewish people. God does not renege on a promise.
The promise of the New Testament, through Jesus Christ, assures us that death has no power over us. Jews and Christians lead their lives looking forward to going to Heaven.

We have a life beyond this mortal one. Those of us reared in a church or synagogue have heard the word. To heed it is to life an upright, honest life and love one another.

Hatred casts a shadow over our country, a shadow that has a name. I close with phrases from the 23rd Psalm.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. Note that the shadow has a name — death.

Please take the time to take your faith from your house of worship and into your community. Spreading the word need not be from a pulpit or a lectern. Spreading the word by example is priceless. Life your faith.

Satan, true to form, salivates at the prospect of Americans killing babies up to and including birth, ignoring the U. S. Constitution (authored by men of faith), condoning legalizing drugs that are far more potent than those proponents used in the 1960s, and offering free goodies to one and all.

The people of Bible times worked. They worked hard. Alms for the poor were common, but given to those infirm or elderly unable to work. The next year and a half will be awash with promises of freebies.

When I taught at the college level, I stressed one comment to my students. Socialism has never succeeded in any nation at any time. It robs workers of initiative by watering down achievement and assigning everyone the same compensation no matter the effort. It dissuades innovation and invention. It destroys. It does not build.

Margaret Thatcher’s words of July 7, 2009 come to mind: “The trouble with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.”

Heed the verse of 2nd Timothy: 2 Timothy 4:7 – I have fought a good fight, I have finished [my] course, I have kept the faith. Will we? Think about it.

263 “What’s next?”

Tuesday, February 19th, 2019

IN DEFENSE OF COMMON SENSE
By Hetty Gray

# 263

February 19, 2019

“What’s next?”

Sometimes I imagine TV legend Rod Serling chuckling at current events. His inventive themes for “Twilight Zone” kept viewers glued to their television sets for the entire run of his show. Reruns continue to air the series for yet another generation. True to his plan, the last scene of every episode came as a surprise — and often — a shock.

Plots dreamed up by this television luminary were successful because, despite their plots, they came across as credible. Sadly, credibility is widely absent among our broadcast media today, in both entertainment and news genres. Coupled with patriotism, credibility stands as the sturdy backbone of a free nation. Trust is golden. Without it, a people operate in informational dark. Without trust, we are all at risk. With this in mind, you have reason to be fearful for the future.

Records show that several US presidents saw fit to deport illegals, but the public welcomed those actions. They were aimed at employing American workers and returning veterans— both sensible and necessary. What has changed is the pervasive attitude of the left today. They continue to work and curry favor among the uneducated, unskilled illegals they seek to admit without restriction. Why? The do it in order to build their voting base. To say that the majority of Americans are angry over this is to understate.

The silent majority is more than a moniker. It is true. Why silent? With the exception of a few networks, news reporters have morphed into news “makers.” Even if it didn’t happen, it COULD have. Sound familiar? I can’t begin to explain my consternation at the spread of this dark journalism. Once, journalism was the voice to disseminate factual information to all the people. Now, to the consternation of a large majority of the population, they push an agenda with little concern for the facts. Opinion rules.

I use the term “dark,” because it fits. Truth shines in the light of day. Lies cannot survive the spotlight of scrutiny. Light exposes disingenuousness. How would you categorize a media that is hell bent on destroying free speech? I see it as an outgrowth of a stilted educational system that engenders “purpose” in its students instead of encouraging inquiry and research. If you disagree with their point of view, you are in their crosshairs.

Textbook editors have corrupted any thought of honesty. Even World War I and World War II are given little space and biased commentary rules. Tell that to the families of American soldiers who gave their lives to fight evil. Several years ago I found a copy of a book of black and white photographs taken when the Allied troops liberated the Nazi concentration camps. I had looked for years and managed to find it in a small bookshop in Nottingham, England. Nothing retouched. Shocking? Yes, but true. Turning the pages, the reader sees up close and personal the unspeakable horror inflicted by people in power — heart stopping pictures of man’s inhumanity to man.

Germany’s Nazis were socialists. Russians were, and are, communists. Neither form of government respects human life. Stalin killed millions. The people never knew. They revered him. They respected him. They, like lies, were in the dark. Today, we have those on the left slinging the name “Nazi” against our president. Nothing is further from the truth.

Now, thanks to liberal faculties of countless centers of higher (?) education across this nation, we witness a younger set that embraces the “free to everybody” spiel thrown out by those pushing socialism. Warning, they lie.

I really worry about this. The inculcation of this political view is not only dangerous, but it is also fatal to a free people. Ever wonder why the most important strides were made during hard times? People who made their way West didn’t worry about entertainment. The men and women who toiled to clear the land and till the soil sustain their families didn’t worry about what they were going to do on the weekend. They didn’t worry about free time; they worried about survival. World War I, the Depression and World War II produced a people who worked hard, went to church on Sunday (no children’s sports on Sunday), and respected the law. My parents’ generation….

Oh, we’ve always had criminals. However, I must comment that crime in days past earned an offender swift judgment and no “cushy” atmosphere in jails and prisons. But, we’ll leave that subject for another column….

The old Biblical quote that “of whom much is given much is expected” more than applied to those hardy folks who pushed this nation to greatness from the Revolutionary War to the landing on the moon. Americans have always been given the freedom to dream, to work, to succeed…. And dream, we did, work we did, and succeed we did.

Americans fight for the underdog. Now, to my disgust, I find that those of us who hold fast to the tenets of this nation that propelled us to the envy of the world are now in the crosshairs of a group who do nothing but whine and cry about the slightest affront. Good grief, people! Get a life! Don’t imperil mine! Don’t risk generations yet unborn.

Even unions are falling prey to a lax work ethic. Recently, we listened as a shop foreman recounted his disgust that the unions “hand out cards” to young workers with virtually no experience. Why they have abandoned the long-adopted practice of moving up through the ranks is beyond understanding. The time honored practice of working from apprentice to journeyman is melting away quicker than a Popsicle on the sidewalk in July.

Why? Why aren’t bosses demanding performance? If you can answer that, you will find yourself in demand in every factory imaginable from coast to coast. The old efficiency experts need to spawn into a new group: work ethic consultants.

If you think that you’ve seen it all when the likes of OAC and her ilk spout out garbage daily, if you think it cannot get any more bizarre than open borders policy, maybe you should remember words made famous by the first man in talking pictures. “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet!”

If those words don’t spur you to work toward the 2020 Presidential election, nothin’ will. Think about it.

262 “The Ice Cream Society”

Wednesday, January 30th, 2019

IN DEFENSE OF COMMON SENSE
By Hetty Gray

# 262 “The Ice Cream Society”

January 30, 2019

The title may seem an odd as you read it, but after finishing this column you will see the parallel that I draw.

Those of us who took that first job before our teen years know the value and pride that comes with hard work. In fact, if we go back two generations, it wasn’t at all unusual to see very young boys working full time. More often than not good parental role models and an eighth grade education prepared them to face life head on.

Points taken. Now let’s take a look at our youth today. To begin with, there are exceptions to this assessment, but the overall picture of the age group between 14 and 30 is enough to scare the wrap off a Sumo wrestler.

Reporters doing “on the street” questioning come face to face with young people who disrespect the older generation, who reject the tenet that work and savings achieve financial stability, and who openly admit a dangerous sense of entitlement for which many parents should be called to account.

There is worth in work. There is worth in working toward a goal. There is what our generation knows as patience. I fear that many of the younger generation will never experience the joy of saving for something. Often, the gain is less exciting than the quest. Sadly, these youngsters are more apt to simply buy on credit. Granted, a mortgage is not a frivolous purchase, but a caveat to that is “Do not buy something you cannot afford.”

A nest egg is not just for the birds. Emergencies happen. Having at least a month’s salary is critical for a household. Utilities, landlords and banks do not accept promises or excuses for payment.

A first job may be a step into a lifetime career or it may be a learning experience when another line of work beckons. To be sure, dependability and trustworthiness are the basic keys to success; but they are only building blocks to a worker’s ability and background. Initiative is icing on the cake.

Consider these quotes on work:

“There is no substitute for hard work.”

Thomas A. Edison

“I do not know anyone who has gotten to the top without hard work. That is the recipe. It will not always get you to the top, but it will get you pretty near.”

Margaret Thatcher

“When I was a young man I observed that nine out of ten things I did were failures. I didn’t want to be a failure, so I did ten times more work.”

George Bernard Shaw

“If I am anything, which I highly doubt, I have made myself so by hard work.”

Isaac Newton

“A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.”

Colin Powell

“No country can sustain, in idleness, more than a small percentage of its numbers. The great majority must labor at something productive.”

Abraham Lincoln

(The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume III, “Address before the Wisconsin State Agricultural Society, Milwaukee, Wisconsin” (September 30, 1859), p. 479.)

“If at any time all labour should cease, and all existing provisions be equally divided among the people, at the end of a single year there could scarcely be one human being left alive—all would have perished by want of subsistence.”
Abraham Lincoln
(His is a clear condemnation of socialism made in the 1800s!)
(The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume I, “Fragments of a Tariff Discussion” (December 1, 1847), p. 415.)

About twenty years ago I wrote a column on the impact of teaching economics to children in kindergarten. It holds even more today. Penny banks and basic rules of handling money cannot be delayed. Once learned, the tenets of saving and budgeting will be lifelong gifts — not wrapped with ribbons, but even more important.
You’ve probably been privy to situation similar to this. A parent is at the checkout and a child asks to buy something. The parent explains that the family cannot afford it. The child quips either, “You have your credit card,” or “There are still checks in the checkbook.” Children need to understand that family budgets are necessary and how to use money.
This surging phenomenon of wanting at the outset “everything Mom and Dad had after forty years” is downright frustrating for older folks. Yet, even more than that, the practice portends lots of problems. Living beyond one’s means is tenuous at best, perilous if unexpected hurdles surface — as they can.
Not only do they expect everything immediately, but they also buy into the greatest lie perpetrated on the American people: Socialism is good. No. It is not. One conversation with a Venezuelan might make an impact, but I doubt if that impact would be sufficient enough to dissuade them from the belief that capitalism is the enemy. Educators have engrained in the youngsters and have done it for decades. Textbooks do not teach that socialist countries die a slow and painful death.
Media and entertainment do little to extol the businessman. One reason is businesses that have become behemoths make it virtually impossible for small businesses to compete and survive. America was built on the foundation of small business. We are seeing it disappear. I’ve never understood why the government ignores anti-trust laws — laws passed to protect small business against monopolies.
With today’s technologies, these laws are needed more than ever. Yet, to the chagrin of many an American, they remain on the sidelines. I do not know enough about the donor base of the political parties to judge if the neglect to implement anti-trust laws equates to “You get what you pay for.” (Please forgive ending the sentence with a preposition. My fourth-grade teacher Hazel Ford would cringe!)
If that’s true, we are in far more trouble than I imagine. Unfortunately, money does talk. Even sadder, big money shouts. My grandparents’ generation often commented, “Money is the root of all evil.” In many cases, it is.
Getting back to ice cream…. Judging anything requires assessment.
If we compare the average 18-20-year-old of the 1940s and 1950s to the same age bracket today, the differences are glaring. I’m taking out of the comparison the driven, responsible, acceptant individuals. I am left with the young person who accepts the mantra of “political correctness” and the “safe zone” mentality widely preached by the liberal left.
Just how would they respond to a real threat? Not the unkind word or inarticulate phrase, but a real threat? Wow! That’s quite the question. I agree that some speech can really be divisive, but when in the history of the world has there not been such speech?
In the wake of Pearl Harbor 17-year-old-boys lied about their age and enlisted in the armed services. A similar situation happened after 9/11. Yet, since that time the mindset of many young people has dipped again into that anti-government, anti-United States mentality. And work should bring instant money. Work often equates to sitting behind a computer monitor. Too many of this age group look down on people who work with their hands as inferiors. This “uppity” attitude is endemic.
If you combine the antagonist view with the lack of patriotism, you have the recipe for disaster.
Back to Lincoln for a moment…. “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”
Concentrate on media that moves in lockstep with the left. Don’t assume that the liberal establishment and academia do not know what they are doing. They know. They have a goal. It is to divide and conquer. They control much of the news. What’s more, they are better than everyone else. At least they believe they are. The question is how did thinking adults allow this to creep in without opposition? I fear that entertainment has become too much of the life stream than civic responsibility.
Well, I refuse to throw in the towel. I do not agree to the comment that “what is done is done.” We few that see the danger may be the ants versus the rubber tree plants, but we need to start somewhere. We need to press our schools to teach the merits of capitalism and we need to begin early! We need to extol the value of hard work. We need to internalize within our students the need to excel and to choose a career that parallels and dovetails both ability and interest. Iron only becomes steel when heat and pressure hardens it. Early training can steel us to become strong people. Paired with faith, discipline and education are key.
Don’t sit in the kitchen or family room and complain to family or friends. Be an advocate for a better America. Go forth and press for personal responsibility in schools. With so many fractured families, schools need to fill the void. Morality is not a weakness. It is the greatest strength. Encourage your local school board and your state government for more civics, more accurate history, and more economics. Without it, America faces a bleak future. It faces a day when the socialists hold sway over voters. It faces a day when it mirrors Venezuela twenty years ago. Don’t assume it cannot happen. It can — if we allow it.
Do not let that happen. It will be a hard fight, given the fact that all the media outlets save a precious few push forward to praise those who run for election and promise “free stuff.” Nothing is ever free. Someone pays for it.
In short, we need to toughen these youngsters, spiritually as well as intellectually. Categorically, ice cream is either hard dip or soft serve. If applied to people, which would best defend and uphold this nation? I think you know the answer.
Think about it.

261 “Overload”

Tuesday, January 29th, 2019

IN DEFENSE OF COMMON SENSE
By Hetty Gray

#261

January 21, 2019

“Overload”

I suppose you’ve heard the phrase “had it up to here.” Well, here is my latest take on that old adage.

Lest I irresponsibly be labeled an anti-feminist, let me lay the groundwork to refute such a statement. First of all, there is nothing feminine about the feminists today. Femininity is the essence of womanhood. Femininity is graciousness, kindliness, gentility, and grace. Nothing about the current movement exudes any such characteristics. In fact, the feminist movement today is the polar opposite.

With few exceptions, those who espouse this movement are belligerent, “pushy,” and lack civility. This group not only annoys me as a woman, it insults the very crux of society. What better way to destroy a nation than to fracture and destroy its most critical element, the family?

I fear that two other old adages are all but nonexistent today. “Behind every successful man is a good woman.” “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.” Yes, there were inequities. Yes, there were hard times for widows when they were left to fend for their households.

What is wrong with a woman supporting her husband and helping him in his quest for success? What’s wrong with the image of a nurturing mother rocking a baby in a cradle? Even if they do reflect a former age, there is an element of truth in both.

To me, what we see today actually began in earnest during World War II when women worked in the war plants, ferried planes from the manufacturers to U.S. Army Air Corps bases both in the US and abroad, served in the military as nurses and garnered praise as support personnel. Queen Elizabeth II was a mechanic during the war. A scene featured in the film “The Queen” starring Dame Helen Mirren integrated Her Majesty’s war service into the drama surrounding the death of Princess Diana in 1997.

With all that in mind, there needs to be a resurgence of respect for women who find value in the home. It is a finite balance to juggle a job and the home, but many married women have done just that for years. They have reared responsible children who grew up to contribute mightily to our nation.

For centuries, in good time and bad, the American family consisted of father, mother, and progeny. Today, the number of single mother households is hard to fathom. Yes, there are single father households, but most of those are the result of a divorce or the death of the wife.

The feminists who participate in every kind of demonstration available are poor examples of the character of American women as a whole. The negative tone aimed at men should concern everyone. I guess they missed out on another old saying. “You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.”

I am so weary of advertising that excludes men. Are there women who apply for loans… buy homes… plan for retirement? Sure there are, but there are also homes where a couple plans their future together. They work together, play together, suffer together, worship together and cling to one another. Truly strong husbands and wives respect and support one another. You won’t need to look far to find them either.

Surely partnership tops the dismal, disrespectful picture played out in commercials today. Nothing threatens the family unit more than unmarried couples. Oh, there are instances were senior citizens must cohabit or else lose their retirement benefits. My, this is a poor way for a government to reward folks who pay taxes over a lifetime!

What kind of example do the unmarried couples set for their children? In fact what they do is legitimate the practice. If — even against their wishes — their offspring choose to do the same thing, they lack standing to oppose it.

In my mind, qualifications matter more than gender. If two people vie for the same job and the man is better qualified than the woman, so be it. Sadly, in many instances such as this, the woman screams gender discrimination. It echoes the affirmative action claims that eventually bit the backside of those who initiated it. To minority disgust, in the end, it worked both ways.

What ever happened to good manners? It’s not a case that mirrors mechanics. The wheel that squeaks the loudest may get the grease, but the woman who screeches the loudest should not necessarily get her way.

I have been an adult woman long enough to recognize obnoxious, irreverent women who think that unruly behavior wins the game. Of all the bosses for whom I have worked, the very worst have been women. They shove their way around like a bovine in a gift shop. And, if at your own peril, you happen to be a woman under their purview, woe be it to you.

It’s high time that every segment of society decries the feminists who claim to speak for all American women. They do not. But, if countered, they make enough noise to stifle any opposition. Those who go up against them are not only called nasty names but also intimidated emotionally and physically. The disgrace is that the media showcases them. How incredibly sad….

How juvenile. Take a lesson from the lyrics of an old song. “I want a girl just like the girl that married dear old Dad.” In those words a young man yearns for the devotion and love of his mother and expresses sincere affection for his father. The worth of a stable, loving home is priceless.

Feminists continue to scream for respect as nauseum. Well, where is their respect for men?

Antagonism feeds upon itself. Don’t doom another generation of children to the mish mosh spewed out by these women. Men do count. Men are important. Men are valuable. Men are integral to the family. In fact, they do possess abilities. Their genetic makeup is disparate from that of women.

Women should work for rights, but they should do it with dignity. There is nothing more important than respect between and among people. Gender is not exempt from this quantifier. In this case, it is central.

Americans need to get their act together and urge these so called feminists to put forward an image worthy of every American woman: talented, capable, devoted, dependable, dedicated, motivated, respectful and loving. This whole situation is on overload. Think about it.

259 “New Year, New Theme”

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2019

IN DEFENSE OF COMMON SENSE
By Hetty Gray

# 259

“A New Year, Hopefully a New Theme”

January 1, 2019

Every year many people around the world look to that hallmark day when one single day heralds in a new year. Here we are again. My wish is that a new theme takes hold in our nation — a theme that carries forward across city boundaries, county lines, state lines and thrusts itself into Washington, D.C.

It’s a theme seldom seen unless a threat is so apparent that nobody can ignore it. Well, there has been just such a threat for nearly two years. If I can see it, I am not alone.

I remember Inauguration Day of 2008. I sat in a rocking chair, holding a baby belonging to friends who had come north to snowmobile here in Michigan’s UP. I prayed that the person taking the oath, though I had not voted for him, would bring with him ideas and programs that would usher in a better life for Americans as a whole. Well, that didn’t work out too well. That administration initiated government-sponsored health care. Anytime you want a business to run well, keep the government out of it.

Let’s just take the Postal Service as a prime example. When I grew up (yes, that was a few decades ago), mail was postmarked in the post office and sent out for delivery. Well, those days are gone. Mail from our small town in Indiana is bagged up and sent to Indianapolis for sorting. Then local mail comes back and is sorted and either placed in a box or given to the carrier. Just how much fuel and labor is involved to do this is anyone’s guess; but the practice is not specific to our small town. It is everywhere.

Efficiency is not the byword of government. Instead, layer upon layer of bureaucracy slows and even stalls what could be a speedy job. Private businesses constantly seek ways to save money. Can we say that about the government? Hardly.

It’s a shame, really. Our Founding Fathers envisioned a government of people who would leave their jobs to serve and then return to them leaving things in better shape than they found them.

Do you see much of that today? Yeah, right…. A sticking point with me is the total lack of cooperation with our president. The people elected Donald J. Trump for a reason — they wanted someone out of the Washington circles who could see the forest for the trees… someone who could read a balance sheet… someone who could see a bad contract and say, “No.” Well, the people got their man, but he was hampered from the “get go.”

Not only did he face a hostile opposition who has tried from day one to get rid of him, but he also found himself with Republicans who failed to have his back. Ego is one thing — stupidity is another.

With the Congress entirely in their hands, they let more than one golden opportunity to slip through their fingers. There is no defensible excuse to oppose the leader of your party when important decisions are in your grasp. To that end, we as Americans lost the Border Wall and who knows what else.

Occasionally, someone stood up to defend the president and agree with him; but, to a large extent, they were absent when needed.

Then you combine a “D” for Democrat and the word anger and you get DANGER. I have taught history and government. With that background, I recognize what most of us know as back and forth between the two major political parties; but the situation we see now is far more critical.

It is as if these people are living in a nether world where the focus is solely on opposition and not finding common ground. I fear that common ground, like common sense, is no longer common. It is rare and endangered.

If you have ever sat down and written a letter to your Congressman or Senator, now is the time. I’ve seen better behavior among disagreeable high school students. Not only is the behavior of the Democratic leadership aggravating, but it’s also juvenile. How sad when adults entrusted by constituents with leadership morph into what we witness today.

Sadly, there is no cure for the stupidity that currently runs rampant among elected officials. You recognize them. As if it’s normal to do so, they spew hatred in every breath. Yet they incessantly accuse the president of precisely what they do. It is more than sad; it is perilous.

Today is the first day of what could be a banner year for America. If the men and women in Washington, D. C. put their country ahead of reelection bids, ahead of party identification, ahead of ego, we may have a chance.

Short of that, we are in for a rough ride. To quote an old movie, “You better fasten your seat belts.”

There is no national security without border security. You can bet that every person who opposes the wall sleeps behind locked doors, may have personal security (likely armed), and counts on the police and fire department for protection. This goes double for those in the mainstream media who never give this president a fair shake. They have bodyguards, too.

As hard as I try to stay positive, it is becoming harder with each passing day. I’d like to feel safe, too. I’m sure that goes for most of you.

So, where is the protection for the American people? Without a wall, it does not exist. The wall is one symptom of the awful hatred aimed at our president. Hatred is a monster that eats away at good people. It beckons others to join in on mischief. Elected officials must condemn and abandon it.

And the theme I cited when I began this column? I cannot take credit for the wording. You’ve heard it at rallies nationwide.

America first. Not personal gain, not misplaced loyalty, not party ID, not venomous opposition. America first.

Pray for your beloved country. Pray for America. She needs it.

258 December 7, 2018 “A terrible resolve…”

Sunday, December 9th, 2018

IN DEFENSE OF COMMON SENSE
By Hetty Gray

# 258

December 7, 2018

“A terrible resolve…”

I know that most of my readers expected my annual columns on Veterans’ Day and Thanksgiving. In lieu of those, I held back to write this piece.

Today is the 77th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor. More than a date in history books (which, sadly, is omitted from modern edited texts in our schools — more about this later), it signaled a nation to respond to threat. Yes, the threat was afoot thousands of miles from our West Coast, but it was a threat that prompted President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to declare that, since that unprovoked and deliberate attack, “…a state of war has existed between the United States of America and the Empire of Japan.”

Fences are nonexistent between our two nations today, but those of us who are children of the “greatest generation” remember all too well. The stories didn’t come from the veterans who returned after a bitter and costly conflict. No, those stories came from soft, hushed conservations at kitchen tables across the nation, conversations overheard by those of us tucked into our beds.

Almost to a man, those who fought and watched their comrades die, stayed silent. Accolades are overdue to veterans’ groups who sponsored videos from men and women well into their eighth decade. Among those is a treasured member of my family. His unit landed on the beaches of France on D-Day. He survived. Countless others died.

Even today, oil seeps up from the USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor. Those of us who view the Arizona Memorial come away with a profound sense of respect and awe. My experience was perhaps a bit different from those of others. As I stood on the area that extends over the ship, I noticed an elderly couple. Side by side, they each held a wreath. Centered in each was a black and white portrait of a young man. After gently dropping his wreath into the water, he turned to take the second wreath from his wife. Clearly they lost two sons on December 7th. Losses were not ours alone.

Even though the attack exacted a terrible toll on the American Pacific Fleet, the consequences were all too clear in Japan. Instead of glory and victory, one of the Emperor’s most trusted military leaders had a sinking dread, one he only expressed in his personal writings.

Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, who planned the attack on Pearl Harbor would reportedly write in his diary, “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.”

Wars exact a terrible price on a population, no matter whether aggressor or attacked. It is a sad commentary that people as a species have not learned the price of war. Those who wage war claim all manner of reasoning, but at the heart of it, greed tops needs. Power and privilege top everything else.

After World War I, “The war to end all wars,” no lesson was learned. As a people, Americans defended our friends and sacrificed mightily in that pursuit. Still today we attempt to spread liberty and freedom around the world; and, even as we see successes here and there, far too many leaders see nothing wrong with holding sway over their suffering, impoverished people. They strut about in uniforms, dispatch enforcers to ensure their “peace.”

We see a lot of this and it is not likely to end. The lure of power is inexhaustible. The push for control is a horrible master. The devil tempts and sways as he has for millennia.

Pearl Harbor underlines the importance of vigilance. Oceans do not protect us. We learned that all too well on 9/11. America does not ensure the spread of freedom by example. For all our good intentions, we need to remember how critical it is to remain on alert.

The armed services no long employ a draft. America’s military is made up of volunteers. They are due our respect. Today as we stop for a moment to remember those who fought and died in World War II, both in the European Theatre of Operations (ETO) and in the Pacific, it should be abundantly clear that we breathe free because others — most of whom were total strangers — sacrificed life and limb for us.

May God bless those who fought and died, their surviving family members, and the untold numbers of American men and women who toiled in the war plants, who volunteered at the USO sites, who cared for the injured, and who buried the dead whose families were fortunate enough to have their bodies returned to American soil.

We are who we are today because of the men and women who fought and won World War II. These people are not dubbed “The Greatest Generation” for nothing. They earned the moniker. They bequeathed our nation’s freedom and liberty to us. Do more than think about it. Thank every man and woman in uniform in person as you encounter him or her.

Remember Pearl Harbor.